Russia’s new propaganda ad shows people eating their pets for Christmas dinner, so happy holidays to you, we guess. 

Since declaring war on Ukraine, Russia has been vocal about their displeasure with anti-Russian sentiment around the world. Now, Russian media has released a Christmas propaganda ad which passive-aggressively ‘wishes’ people a Merry ‘Anti-Russian’ Christmas by showing them resorting to eating their pets for dinner. 

The seemingly innocuous video shows a family’s Christmas over a span of two years. In 2021, a couple presents their daughter with a hamster on Christmas, standing in a brightly lit room. Flash forward to 2022, and they’re using a hamster and its wheel to power the Christmas lights on their tree, the only powered thing in their home, it seems.

The video then shows the family on Christmas 2023. The family is still without power and eating barebones food, wearing coats and hats. The video shows the father pulling their hamster’s bow from his mouth as his wife puts a finger against her lips, warning him to not let their daughter find out that she cooked the hamster for dinner. 

As the father goes to throw up, a message on the video reads: “Merry Anti-Russian Christmas. If your media doesn’t tell you where this is.” 

The message is supposedly in reference to Vladimir Putin’s decision to halt a majority of Europe’s gas supply in response to the EU’s support for Ukraine. Europe has thus been dealing with increased fuel and gas prices, with many preparing for a long and harsh winter. 

Since being circulated on the internet, the video has incurred both ridicule and denunciation. Ukrainian racer Igor Sushko called out Russia’s ‘energy terrorism’ in tweets: “Propaganda ads coming out on Russian channels available online in Europe to instil fear in Europeans through energy terrorism. The message: In a year, Europeans will have to resort to eating their own pets unless they appease Putin now.” 

Comments on Reddit, however, carried more ridicule: “If this is supposed to depict Ukraine, then Russia is depicting itself as failing to win for most of 2023,” one comment on Reddit said

The video also comes shortly after another Christmas video by Russian media. With decidedly homophobic undertones, the video showed a ‘Santa Putin’ replacing a photograph of a child’s same-sex parents with that depicting a traditional male-female couple. He’s also shown driving a boy away from conventionally ‘feminine’ behaviours by giving him drums, cars, and a football. 

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